Quit order, end to Yoruba, Fulani coexistence?



The age-long relationship between Yoruba and Fulani in the western part of the country appears threatened over recent happenings. TOPE SUNDAY writes.

In the last couple of months the relationship between Yoruba and Fulani in the South-west is frosty over the alleged killings being perpetrated by the unknown assailants, but suspected to have been carried by some elements among the Fulani. This development, no doubt, is raising dusts and heightening tension in the country.

Age-long relationship

Historically, aside from the Fulani invasion of the Yoruba land in the early 1800s, the Yoruba nation and Fulani sellers have always lived in peace. Their relationship has lasted for close to 221 years. And hardly is any village in Yoruba land today in the present day that does not have a Ga’a (Fulani settlement). Similarly, Fulani who domicile in the Yoruba land speak the Yoruba language either fluently or colloquially.

A farmer, who is his in 70s, Baba Bose, told Blueprint Weekend, how his late parents would invite the Fulani who reared their cattle into their farm for a launch, and at times, gifted them roasted maize.

“My son, that time, we had a cordial relationship with Fulani because they would not stray into your farm. And if by mistake, they did, they would pay you. Up till now, there are still paths for the Fulani to rear their cattle. My late parents would invite them for launch and give them roasted maize. But today, the story has changed.”

“My son, that time, we had a cordial relationship with Fulani because they would not stray into your farm. And if by mistake, they did, they would pay you. Up till now, there are still paths for the Fulani to rear their cattle. My late parents would invite them for launch and give them roasted maize. But today, the story has changed.”

Quit orders

The Ondo state , Rotimi Akeredolu, and an Ibadan-based youth leader, Chief Sunday Igboho, simultaneously issued quit orders to elements among the Fulani in Ondo forests and Igangan town both in Ondo and Oyo states. While Igboho issued his order on January 17, Akeredolu issued his order a day later. They both hinged their actions on the killings allegedly perpetrated by Fulani.

The was reported to have said: “Today we have taken major steps at addressing the root cause of , in particular, and other nefarious activities detailed and documented in security reports, the press and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases in Ondo state. These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of , negotiating for ransom and carrying out other .”

Similarly, Igboho in a viral video accused the Fulani community in Igangan of masterminding abductions, killings, and other in the area.

The counter claims

However, tension was later heightened following a statement issued by the senior special assistant on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, tackling the of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu, over his order asking all herders to vacate forest reserves in the state within seven days.

Shehu, who encouraged the state government to tackle all forms of criminality but not breach the rights of herders in the state, said: “Rather the ultimatum and contradiction that may follow the order, the state government and the leadership of the Fulani communities in Ondo state should dialogue for a good understanding that will bring to an urgent end, the nightmarish security facing the state. Mr. Akeredolu will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.”

Also, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in a statement by its spokesperson, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, urged the herders to ignore the ultimatum given by Akeredolu.

“Northern Elders Forum is shocked at reports that the of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu, is asking a Fulani community to leave its lawful location, in addition to other restrictions on activities of Fulani people who have lived in the State for a long period. No Nigerian has the power to take punitive action against citizens on political grounds. The forum believes that the action of the is provocative and unhelpful,” the statement read in part.

But the Ondo state Commissioner of Information, Donald Ojogo, argued that the presidential spokesperson’s response “reeks of emotional attachment to the herdsmen.”

According to him, there is no going back on the ultimatum given to the herders as the state government reeled out procedure for registration of any herder who is still interested in grazing in Ondo.

While collaborating Ojogo’s stance, a South-west socio-cultural organisation, the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), applauded Akeredolu for asking herders in forest reserves to vacate the state.

The group, in a statement by its secretary-general, Kunle Olajide, said the vacation order should have come earlier because, “There’s no law in that allows anybody to invade another state or , or another town, and destroy their resources and the people would fold their arms.

“Since 2015, these herders have been prodding our forest reserves, destroying our farms, killing our people, raping our women and for ransom and we have complained over and over again but it appears as if the federal government and security agencies turned a deaf ear to our complaints.”

Tension

Upon the expiration of the seven-day given by the Ondo state governor, his fellow governors intervened and asked all the herders in his state to profile themselves, but that of Igboho could not be said to be so as there was reported loss of lives and property destruction. However, Igboho’s house was razed some days later by yet-to-be identified elements.
However, the development has caused tension and palpable fear seems to have gripped some northerners living in the south west and some south westerners living in the up north.

Are Yoruba against Fulani?

In his repeated videos via the social media, the Yoruba youth leader and activist, Chief Igboho, had clarified that he is not against the Fulani, but the elements, who are suspected to have perpetrated the alleged crimes. In his series of tweets to react to an order to arrest him at the hit of the , Igboho clarified that his ‘war’ is against the killer herdsmen and not the Fulani.

However, a public affair analyst, Comrade Oladimeji Kolawole, told this reporter that the quit order by both Governor Akeredolu and Sunday Igboho was treated in isolation by some sections of the Nigerian media. He also queried the sectionalisation of the incident by the media.

Kolawole said: “The way some sections of the Nigerian media reported the quit order handed over to the criminal elements among the Fulani residing in the South-west was worrisome. Imagine the screaming headlines suggesting that all Fulani who have stayed in Yoruba land for donkey years have been asked to vacate and retreat to their villages.

“Misunderstanding and lack of in-depth reportage almost ignite across the country. However, I will suggest that the Nigerian media should rise above sentiment.”

Sign Up Now

ePaper Subscription

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*